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Domination: An Inside Look at Iowa Wrestling

Cassioppi to compete in Junior National Duals


Incoming Hwt recruit Anthony Cassioppi will be competing in the Freestyle and Greco-Roman Junior National Duals this week.  The action in the Cox Business Center in Tulsa, OK will begin with the GR Duals on Wednesday at 9 AM (CST) with the finals slated for the 1 PM round on Thursday.  Freestyle beings on Friday at 8 AM and the finals are in the 2 PM round on Saturday.

The 2018 World Team Trials for Greco-Roman will also be taking place in the same venue on Thursday and Friday.

Cassioppi, from Hononegah High School (Roscoe, IL), is ranked #4 at Hwt by Intermat. Cassioppi is joined by Nelson Brands of Iowa City, IA (West HS), Joe Kelly of West Liberty, IA and Aaron Cashman of Spring Park, MN in the Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2018.

Renteria is a Hawk

Jason Renteria announced on Twitter that he is transferring to the University of Iowa. This is a great get for the Hawks. Renteria competed at 133 for Nebraska this past season as a true freshman and will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Renteria was the first four-time State finalist for Oak Park River Forest, a national power in Illinois.  As a senior in 2017, Renteria was ranked by FloWrestling as the 33rd best overall recruit in the country. Renteria had originally given a verbal commitment to Iowa in high school before going to Nebraska. OPRF is also the home school of Iowa standout Sammy Brooks.

Renteria is known for his toughness and aggressive style and I look for him to excel in the legendary tough Iowa Wrestling room.  I see Renteria starting at 133 and possibly moving up to 141 later in his career.

This is great news for Iowa Wrestling.

Iowa Wrestling just continues to gain more and more momentum.  It is only mid-June and I already cannot wait for the season to begin.

Welcome to the Iowa Wrestling nation, Jason Renteria.

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!

McGinness named to Iowa Athletic Hall of Fame

Two-time NCAA National champion Jeff McGinness has been named to the Iowa Athletic Hall of Fame. McGinness won an NCAA title at 126 lbs. in 1995 with a 30-0 record as a true sophomore and in 1998 at 142 lbs. McGinness was a member of the Iowa NCAA national championship teams of 1995, 1996, and 1998 and was a three-time All-American.

After competing at 126 for the first three years of his career, McGinnis took his redshirt season in 1997.  In 1998, he moved up to 142 lbs. and won his second NCAA title. With winning an undefeated NCAA title as a true sophomore and then moving up two weights to win another NCAA title, I have always thought that Jeff McGinness is underrated for his accomplishments in the history of Iowa Wrestling.  McGinness was a two-time Big Ten champion and was named as the 1994 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

In high school McGinness was one of the best to ever come out of the state of Iowa.  A rare undefeated (170-0) four-time State champion from Iowa City, Iowa (City High HS) from 1990-1993.  In Freestyle, McGinness won a Cadet and Junior National title. In 1992, McGinness won a Junior World title at 127.5 lbs. and was named as the Outstanding Wrestler.  In 1993 McGinniss was a consensus first team High School All-American.

The University of Iowa Hall of Fame induction ceremony is August 31 at 6:30 PM at the Grand Coral Ballroom in the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Convention Center.

Iowa All Female Wrestling Camp

The University of Iowa Wrestling program will host an Iowa All Female Wrestling Camp on July 7-9.  Wrestlers from ages 10-18 will have an opportunity to learn from a great staff that includes two-time world silver medalist Alli Ragan and HWC member and 2018 U.S. Open runner-up Lauren Louive.  The staff of the Iowa Wrestling camps also includes Tom and Terry Brands, HWC Head Coach Mark Perry, and additional coaches and members of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

In addition to technique, campers will learn about nutrition, mental training, and recovery.  A nation-wide draw will provide quality training partners for every wrestler.

For more information, go to:


Brad Smith receives Bob Siddens Coaching Excellence Award

Lisbon Wrestling coach Brad Smith was awarded the Bob Siddens High School Coaching Excellence Award.  Smith received the honor at a ceremony on Friday at the Dan Gable Hall of Fame in Waterloo, Iowa. This past season Smith surpassed Coach Siddens for the all-time mark of state titles won by a high school coach in Iowa when Lisbon won Smith his 12th state title.

In the first thirteen years of Smith’s coaching career at Lisbon, the Lions won a state title in 1980, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, and 1990.  In 21 seasons at Iowa City High he won state titles in 1992, 1999, and 2002. Smith returned home to coach Lisbon in 2012 and won a state title in 2017 and 2018.

Coach Smith is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Glen Brand Hall of Fame, Iowa High School Wrestling Hall of Fame, and has been named as the National Wrestling Coach of the Year twice in his career.  Smith has coached wrestlers to 50 state titles, five of his former wrestlers won a national title in college and he has coached a record four four-time state champions. As a wrestler, Smith was a two-time Illinois state champion, a member of two NCAA national championship teams at Iowa, and was the 142 lbs. NCAA National champion in 1976.  

Coach Siddens is an absolute legend that led Waterloo West to eleven state titles.  In his 27 years (1950-1977) at Waterloo West, Siddens had 51 state champions with his eleven state titles, seven runner-up and three third place teams.  He retired with a dual meet record of 327-26-3.  The 327 dual meet wins was a national record at the time. Siddens’ most famous wrestler was Dan Gable.

The state of Iowa has an incredible high school wrestling legacy and Bob Siddens and Brad Smith are at the top of all of the greats to have ever coached in the Iowa high school wrestling ranks.

Congratulations Coach Smith for receiving this prestigious and much deserved honor.

Gilman and Ragan of HWC make World Freestyle Teams

Thomas Gilman looked very solid in defeating Daton Fix in two straight matches by the scores of 6-3 and 2-1 to earn a spot at 57 kg on Team USA for the 2018 World Freestyle Championships.  Gilman’s strength, positioning, and conditioning was the winning combination against a very tough Fix.

Gilman is still relatively new to the International wrestling scene with just a year of experience.  Gilman looked like a seasoned veteran with a controlled and smart game plan against Fix.  

Gilman will now prepare for the 2018 World Freestyle Championships in Budapest, Hungary on October 21-22.

It is huge for the Iowa Wrestling program to have one of their own on the World Freestyle team.  Gilman’s Silver medal in Paris last year was a huge boost to Iowa Wrestling. You cannot overstate the importance to the Iowa Wrestling program of what is means to have Thomas Gilman making these World teams and hopefully bring back the World title this year.

Alli Ragan, also a member of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club, swept Jenna Burkert in two matches, 4-0 and 5-0 to make the World team at 59 kg.  Ragan was dominating in stuffing Burkert’s shot attempts and turning them into points. This is the sixth straight World team that Ragan has qualified for and she won a World Silver in each of the last two years. The Women’s World Freestyle Championships will also be in Budapest Hungary on October 22-23.

In their four combined matches, Gilman and Ragan did not surrender a single takedown.  Tough wrestling by the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.

Congratulations to Thomas Gilman and Alli Ragan for making our 2018 World Freestyle Teams.  

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!  

Cassioppi takes second at UWW Junior GR World Team Trials

Incoming Iowa Wrestling recruit Anthony Cassioppi placed second at 130 kg at the UWW Junior Greco-Roman World Team Trials in Indianapolis, IN.  Cassioppi dropped the best of three series to Cohlton Schultz of Colorado, 2-1. Schultz was a 2017 Cadet Greco-Roman World champion at 100 kg.

Cassioppi had a 4-3 lead with less than :10 to go in the third match when Schultz scored a 4-point move and one more point for the challenge.  Cassioppi won the first match 8-4 and dropped the second match 7-7 on some very questionable officiating.  Cassioppi gave up three total points on passivity (2 and 1), scored the last four points of the match with a takedown and gut wrench in the closing seconds, and lost on criteria, 7-7. 

I am far from a Greco-Roman expert, but I found the officiating in the second and third match to be questionable at best.  Actually, I found the officiating to be terrible. Cassioppi was dinged for passivity in both matches that I simply did not see.  To think that the head official in both matches were overruled on even more passivity calls against Cassioppi when he was scoring takedowns makes the matter even worse.

I usually do make comments like this, but it was needed.  To see that bad of calls made against the same wrestler in two matches with that much on the line is tough to take.     

Cassioppi, from Hononegah High School (Roscoe, IL), is ranked #4 at Hwt by Intermat. Cassioppi is joined by Nelson Brands of Iowa City, IA (West HS), Joe Kelly of West Liberty, IA and Aaron Cashman of Spring Park, MN in the Iowa Wrestling Recruiting Class of 2018.


2018 UWW Greco-Roman World Team Trials – 130 kg

Anthony Cassioppi tech fall over Ethan Bunce, 9-0 (1:31)

Anthony Cassioppi tech fall Thomas Helton, 10-1 (3:27)

Best of 3 Finals:

Anthony Cassioppi dec Cohlton Schultz, 8-4

Cohlton Schultz dec Anthony Cassioppi, 7-7

Cohlton Schultz dec Anthony Cassioppi, 8-4

Lee named for Outstanding Sportsmanship award

Spencer Lee has been named as Iowa’s 2018 Men’s Big Ten Outstanding Sportsmanship Award winner.  Lee won an NCAA title in dominating fashion this past season at 125 lbs. as a true freshman.  Lee, from Murrysville, Pennsylvania, was also named as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was also named to the Amateur Wrestling News All-Rookie team.


The student-athletes chosen were individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior, were in good academic standing and demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.

Lee is just the second wrestler chosen in the sixteen year history of this award at Iowa.  Joe Johnston also won this award in 2005.

Lee was the number one recruit in the country in the Class of 2017.  I have called him the biggest recruit in the history of Iowa Wrestling and for good reason.

Congratulations to Spencer Lee on another much deserved award.

It’s “Final X” time for Gilman and Ragan

It is Final X time for Thomas Gilman and Alli Ragan of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.  The first of three Final X events will take place this Saturday starting at 6 PM CST in Lincoln, NE with the winner making the 2018 World Championships for Team USA. All matchups are a best of three format. Ragan will face Jenna Burkert at 59 kg in the second bout of the evening.  Ragan has made five consecutive World Championships teams and has won a World Silver in each of the last two years. Ragan and her opponent, Jenna Burkert, have been at different weights and were teammates on the 2014 Senior World Team and the 2010 and 2011 Junior World Team.  

Predication:  Ragan wins the series 2-0.

Thomas Gilman took USA Wrestling and the world by storm last year.  Gilman came from behind to win the Last Chance Qualifier to even qualify for the World Team Trials.  Gilman then ran the gauntlet and took out an impressive list of competitors to make the 2017 World Team.  At the World Championships in Paris, Gilman stormed to the finals before placing second at 57 kg.

Gilman will face Daton Fix, a true freshman at Oklahoma State, in the best of three finals.  Fix had a very impressive U.S. Open that saw him dominate his opponents before dropping a match in the finals to Tony Ramos.  Fix rolled through the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament recently and then defeated Ramos in two straight matches to qualify for Final X. Fix is a former Junior World champion and has made five World teams in three different age groups.

This will be a classic Iowa – Okie State matchup of the explosive Fix and the grinder Gilman.  I am looking for Gilman’s recent international experience at the Senior level to be a factor.

Prediction:  Gilman wins the series 2-0.

Predictions for the additional bouts:  James Green (70 kg), Kyle Snyder (97 kg), Becka Leathers (55 kg), Tamyra Stock (68 kg), Jordan Burroughs (74 kg).

You can watch all of the Final X matches live on FloWrestling at:



Saturday, June 9 at the Bob Devaney Center, starting at 6:00 p.m. CST

Bout Order

Bout One – Men’s freestyle 70 kg

2017 World silver medalist – James Green, Lincoln, Neb. (Titan Mercury WC/Nebraska WTC)

2018 WTT Challenge Tournament champion – Jason Chamberlain, Fresno, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC/Valley RTC)


Bout Two – Women’s freestyle 59 kg

2017 World silver medalist – Alli Ragan, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Sunkist Kids/Hawkeye WC/OTC)

2018 WTT Challenge Tournament champion – Jenna Burkert, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)


Bout Three – Men’s freestyle 97 kg

2017 World champion – Kyle Snyder, Columbus, Ohio (Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC)

2018 WTT Challenge Tournament champion –Kyven Gadson, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids/Cyclone RTC)


Bout Four – Women’s freestyle 55 kg

2017 World bronze medalist – Becka Leathers, Choctaw, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC)

2018 WTT Challenge Tournament champion – Jacarra Winchester, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC/OTC)


Bout Five – Men’s freestyle 57 kg

2017 World silver medalist – Thomas Gilman, Iowa City, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC)

2018 WTT Challenge Tournament champion – Daton Fix, Sand Springs, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC/Cowboy WC)


Bout Six – Women’s freestyle 68 kg

2018 U.S. Open champion – Tamyra Stock, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC/OTC)

2018 WTT Challenge Tournament champion – Randyll Beltz, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)


Bout Seven – Men’s freestyle 74 kg

2017 World champion – Jordan Burroughs, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids/Nebraska WTC)

2018 WTT Challenge Tournament champion – Isaiah Martinez, Leemore, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC/Illini RTC)

Win dinner with Tom Brands

Want to win seating for two to have dinner with Tom Brands?  Every new member of the recently formed Inner Circle for the Hawkeye Wrestling Club will have their name put in for a drawing that will be held on Monday, July 2. The winner of the drawing will receive two seats at the “Tom Brands Dinner.”

The Inner Circle was designed for HWC donors to set up monthly recurring payments of $25 or more.  This new system has been a great help in setting a budget for operating expenses for the HWC.

There are great perks to being a member of the Inner Circle:

  1. One of a kind gear – You will receive exclusive and customized HWC gear.
  2. Exclusive content – The HWC will send you regular content to let you know what is going on in the program.
  3. Insider access – You will get VIP access to events like the golf fundraisers.  You will also get a VIP tour of an Iowa Wrestling/HWC practice.

The HWC is an integral part of the success of Iowa Wrestling.  Do you want to be apart of helping Iowa Wrestling win? Contribute to the HWC.

To join the Inner Circle of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club:

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!